Arkansas Crime

Hilda Daves
Clark Co. Sheriff's Office

An Arkansas grandmother has been arrested on preliminary charges of first-degree murder, attempted first-degree murder and battery for the death of her 5-year-old granddaughter and injury to another grandchild.

Clark County Sheriff Jason Watson said in a statement that deputies and Arkansas State Police arrested the 49-year-old Amity woman Tuesday.

Watson says deputies received a 911 call on Jan. 17 saying the woman's two grandchildren had possibly been poisoned and one was being taken to a hospital.

Objecting to the Arkansas Supreme Court ruling that lower-court judges can require that defendants pay their bail only in cash, the high court's chief justice cited a musician seldom thought of as a legal scholar: Johnny Cash.

Interim Chief Justice Howard Brill on Thursday cited Cash's song "Starkville City Jail" in a dissent. He said it was wrong for the majority to deny a Benton County man's objection to a $300,000 cash-only bail set in an assault and battery case.

Arron Lewis
Brian Chilson / Arkansas Times

A man convicted of capital murder and kidnapping in the death of a central Arkansas real estate agent has filed notice that he plans to appeal.

Arron Lewis was found guilty and sentenced to life without parole in the slaying of Beverly Carter after a four-day jury trial in January.

Prosecutors said Lewis targeted Carter in a failed ransom plot, taking her from a fake home showing. When police began looking for her and Lewis found out Carter had financial problems, prosecutors say Lewis smothered Carter with duct tape and buried her in a shallow grave.

Defense attorneys for an Arkansas teen charged in the shooting death of the couple who raised him as their grandson say they plan to ask for the case to be moved to juvenile court.

During a pre-trial hearing for now 15-year-old Justin Staton in Faulkner County Circuit Court, his attorneys said depending on several discovery requests, they plan to file the motion to move Staton to juvenile court. Prosecutors charged Staton as an adult with capital murder in the shooting deaths of Robert and Patricia Cogdell last July.

An Arkansas man convicted of rape and attempted murder has been sentenced to life in prison plus 60 years after asking jurors to give him the maximum sentence.

Larry Lavelle Jones was accused of raping and trying to kill a 66-year-old woman in the parking lot of the Hot Springs Mall in 2014. The 37-year-old from Malvern apologized to the victim during court proceedings Tuesday and told jurors to "go ahead with whatever the maximum is."

Erica Suskie
KATV, Channel 7 News

A former volunteer substitute teacher has pleaded not guilty to a first-degree sexual assault charge related to an alleged affair with a teenager.

Former Catholic High School substitute teacher Erica Suskie entered the plea in North Little Rock District Court Tuesday. Her husband, Paul Suskie, is a former chairman of the Arkansas Public Service Commission who ran unsuccessfully in 2006 for the Democratic nomination for Arkansas Attorney General.

Opening arguments and testimony are set to begin in the trial of a Texarkana woman accused of killing a fellow square dancer in 2013.

The Texarkana Gazette reports that testimony is scheduled to begin Tuesday morning in the trial of 67-year-old Virginia Hyatt. Hyatt is charged with capital murder for the death of 59-year-old Patricia Wheelington. Hyatt has pleaded not guilty.

Arraignment for Benton County Sheriff Kelley Cradduck has been moved up a week.

The Northwest Arkansas Democrat Gazette reported Monday that Cradduck's attorney and a special prosecutor agreed to move arraignment to Feb. 22 rather than Feb. 29, which is the day before the primary election. Cradduck is running for a third term and faces three primary opponents.

Arkansas Game and Fish Commission officers say they're investigating a video being circulated on Facebook that purportedly shows a deer being beaten with a textbook.

Officers said Friday they believe the video was made in Arkansas by three Georgia residents and one Arkansas resident. Agents say they've questioned one of the individuals and plan to get statements from the other three within the next two days.

Former Bank Executive Dennis Smiley Sentenced To 97 Months For Fraud

Jan 28, 2016
dennis smiley
Arkansas Business

Former Arvest Bank banker Dennis Smiley will spend the next eight years in federal prison for the bank fraud he committed with 24 banks while obtaining 55 loans and wrongly using three of his subordinates and forging the names of his father and wife.